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a Charleston City Paper publication

Summer 2021 || F   ree


FOR THE LOVE OF SEAFOOD

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DOWNTOWN CHARLESTON


editorial

Old Li’s authentic Chinese cuisine has been a hit since it opened earlier this year

Editor: Sam Spence Cuisine Editor: Parker Milner Contributing Editors: Chelsea Grinstead, Michael Smallwood Staff Writer: Skyler Baldwin Web Editor: Samantha Connors Contributors: Stephanie Barna, Susan Cohen, Suzanne Cohen, Robert Donovan, Kinsey Gidick, Mary Scott Hardaway Allston McCrady, Robert F. Moss, Melissa Tunstall, Vanessa Wolf

sales Advertising Director: Cris Temples Account Executives: Hollie Anderson Kristin Byars Ashley Frantz Lauren Kesmodel Tony Rhone Michelle Wells Sales Assistant: Melissa Veal

design

Ashley Rose Stanol

4 || DISH || Summer 2021

Publisher: Andy Brack

Bring your appetite for the 2021 summer edition of Dish, the Charleston City Paper’s quarterly publication dedicated to detailing the storylines shaping Charleston’s dining industry. In this edition, we’ve got the inside scoop on two new restaurants — one is serving the North Central neighborhood elevated diner-inspired fare, and the other is bringing a Parisian-style bistro to a historic Broad Street building.

On page 18, Jeff Allen gives his take on the cuisine at an authentic Chinese eatery west of the Ashley River, and don’t forget our list of Charleston’s top 50 restaurants, which has a couple newcomers, including a locals’ favorite all-day breakfast eatery and Vivian Howard’s first Charleston venture. Hungry yet? If not, you will be soon. —Parker Milner

inside (p6)

(p12)

(p18)

(p22)

Berkeley’s bringing elevated, diner-inspired fare to North Central

Brasserie la Banque serves up classic French food with a laidback ambiance

The West Ashley eatery is certainly authentic, and it’s just what Charleston needs

Our top restaurants in Charleston for Summer 2021

Community Kitchen

 Casual  Elegance

(p42)

Charleston’s Takeout Favorites Great Local Grab & Go Favorites — a special advertising section

 Old  Li’s

The Dish Top 50

(p44)

(p46)

A breakdown of restaurants in this issue by type of cuisine

Becoming the chef of my own restaurant

Index

Stepping Up

Art Director: Scott Suchy Production Director: Déla O’Callaghan Graphic Designer: Christina Bailey Staff Photographer: Rūta Smith Contributing Photographer: Ashley Rose Stanol

distribution Circulation Team: Jesse Craig, Chris Glenn, Robert Hogg, David Lampley, John Melnick, Sam Ognibene, Tashana Remsburg, Tony Rhone Published by City Paper Publishing, LLC Members: J. Edward Bell • Andrew C. Brack

o  n the cover Berkley’s spicy roasted shrimp, photographed by Ashley Rose Stanol. Dish is a publication of the Charleston City Paper and is published quarterly by City Paper Publishing, LLC. All content is copyrighted and the property of City Paper Publishing, LLC. Charleston City Paper P.O. Box 21942 Charleston, SC 29413 (843) 577-5304 charlestoncitypaper.com


ESCAPE THE USUAL. Step away from the ordinary at Élevé and discover vibrant, European-inspired cuisine with an artful twist. Then, step into our secret garden, where you’ll uncover a rooftop bar and lounge with herb-infused craft cocktails and spectacular views of the city’s historic skyline. For reservations, find us on OpenTable. elevecharleston.com | @GrandBohemianCharleston

charlestoncitypaper.com || 5


6 || DISH || Summer 2021

Photos by Ashley Rose Stanol

COMMUNITY KITCHEN Berkeley’s bringing elevated diner-inspired fare to North Central

B   Marc and Elizabeth Hudacsko were known for their We Flew South pop-up prior to opening Berkeley’s

By Parker Milner

erkeley’s owners Marc and Elizabeth Hudacsko are passionate about the no-frills fare they grew up eating in New Jersey, and their new Huger Street restaurant — named after Elizabeth’s hometown — is “inspired by the diners, greasy spoons and red sauce joints we grew up eating,” Marc said. But, don’t expect to only find Northern eats at Berkeley’s, which opened June 25. “We don’t want to be pigeonholed as the New Jersey people,” he said. “We’re Charleston people, and this is where we call home. The real thing for us is we love this neighborhood — we’ve always loved this neighborhood.” The concept for Berkeley’s stems in part

from the days when the Hudacskos’ We Flew South pop-up traveled around the Lowcountry on and off for three years, finishing with a short stint at The Daily for five weeks in winter 2020. continued on page 8


INDACO CELEBRATES TRADITIONAL FAVORITES

Located on Upper King Street, Indaco offers consistently crave-worthy rustic Italian cuisine, an extensive wine selection, and killer happy hour deals. The restaurant recently welcomed back Executive Chef Mark Bolchoz, the mastermind behind the popular ‘Red Sauce Mondays,’ Charleston’s weekly excuse to indulge in traditional Italian favorites from Meatballs to Chicken Parmesan with a heavy pour of Chianti. Bringing new life and old favorites to the menu, Mark also introduced “Piatti,” a section of larger, composed dishes, including seasonal takes on a classic Chicken Milanese, C.A.B. 48oz. Tomahawk Ribeye, and Heritage Pork Chop.

A classic French brasserie situated in historic downtown, Brasserie La Banque features a selection of traditional French dishes alongside more innovative fare from executive chef Jeb Aldrich. Aptly named for its previous role as a city bank, Brasserie la Banque is located within the iconic 1 Broad Street corner building that dates back to the 1700s. The neighborhood restaurant offers dinner Tuesday through Saturday, from 5 to 11 p.m.

brasserielabanque.com @Brasserie_la_Banque Pictured: Steak Frites

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Indaco is open for dinner seven days a week. Reservations are available on OpenTable or by calling the restaurant at (843) 727-1228.

NOW OPEN!


8 || DISH || Summer 2021

Ashley Rose Stanol

Spicy-roasted shrimp with Calabrian chili and cashews over polenta Berkley’s from page 6

Berkeley’s expansive menu will feature some We Flew South favorites, like the cheesesteak and meatball parmesan sandwich, and the rest of the offering was curated by Marc, Elizabeth and Berkeley’s executive

“When I think about our food, we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. Simple food made the best way we know how.” chef Chad Healey after the Hudacskos took over the Huger Street space in August 2020. Look for appetizers and entrees like fried clams, a shaved ribeye French dip sandwich and panko-crusted roasted salmon that are designed to be “a little nicer,” Marc said. Take Berkeley’s porchetta, which is served over a

romesco sauce made using roasted peppers, cashews, arugula and sherry vinegar. “We’re taking the pork belly, and we’re seasoning it with a rub, and we let it sit in that, so it really permeates the flavor,” said Marc, who starts by roasting the belly low and slow. “Then, we take it and cut it into a square and throw it back into the oven. Taking something that can be really rich and how do we make it light and enjoyable.” Berkeley’s uses that same philosophy for small plates like hummus, which is topped with feta mousse, artichoke and kale gratin and spicy roasted shrimp with polenta. High-quality ingredients meet minimalist, detailed preparations, Marc said. “When I think about our food, we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel,” he said. “Simple food made the best way we know how.” That technique is again on display with Berkeley’s entrees, which resemble an elecontinued on page 10


Honoring the traditions and flavors of Jalisco, Mexico with authentic cuisine and tons of

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Delicious Southern Style Cuisine COUPLED WITH WARM HOSPITALITY 90 Folly Rd • Charleston • FlorencesKitchen.com

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A CHARLESTON INSTITUTION SINCE 1982


10 || DISH || Summer 2021

Roasted pork belly with romesco sauce

Berkley’s from page 8

vated version of something you might find at Grandma’s house — think chicken parmesan and hanger steak with fries. In the sandwich section, fans of We Flew South will be thrilled to find the shaved ribeye cheesesteak, and the trio of chicken cutlet sammies — classic, parmesan and buffalo — will be staples, Marc said. To make the chicken cutlet, Berkeley’s chefs start by pounding the chicken breast until it’s super-thin, setting it aside before submerging it in a brine. “It’s all about the flavors you choose. By brining that chicken, you get this flavor all the way through,” said Marc, who dredges the chicken in buttermilk before dipping it in a Japanese panko breadcrumb and parmesan cheese mixture. “It’s not complicated, but it’s all those little touches that I think elevates it.”

“Community is really important to us — that includes our neighborhood, of course, but also our staff. We couldn’t imagine doing this without them.” For drinks, look for multiple regional craft beers and a curated wine list. “We have a pretty extensive program with over 15 wines poured by the glass. There are a couple of really fun wines on the list, but most of it is very approachable,” Marc said. “We took a similar approach with the beer. We wanted to balance local and regional breweries with some classic beers from around the world. There will definitely be a couple beers on the list that people don’t see all the time.” Since taking over the building previously occupied by Uneeda Sicilian, the Hudacskos

Photos by Ashley Rose Stanol

have fully remodeled the space, adding a brand new kitchen, formal dining area, indoor-outdoor bar and patio seating. The eatery promises to have the neighborhood feel of New Jersey spots the Hudacskos frequented as kids; places where “the mayor’s in the corner talking to the fire chief, who happens to be your kid’s baseball coach,” Marc said. And while Berkeley’s is named after New Jersey’s Berkeley Heights because “what’s more comfortable than where you grew up,” Marc said, don’t let the Northern-inspired name fool you — since opening, Berkeley’s has strived to provide the Southern hospitality the Hudacskos have fallen in love with since flying south. “We’re building a home,” Marc said. “I really hope people like it because I think we’re building a place that people will be really happy in. Community is really important to us — that includes our neighborhood, of course, but also our staff. We couldn’t imagine doing this without them.”


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12 || DISH || Summer 2021

C   asual E   legance Brasserie la Banque serves up classic French food with a laid-back ambiance By Samantha Connors

 S

teve Palmer walked by the corner building at 1 Broad St. for years and thought, “That building wants to be a French brasserie.” On July 2, that vision came to fruition when Indigo Road Hospitality Group, where he’s the managing partner, opened its newest restaurant, Brasserie la Banque. The name itself is a nod to the building’s rich history. Originally built in 1853, the structure once housed the State Bank of South Carolina. Over the next 145 years, 1 Broad St. mainly served as a bank. The building remained vacant for almost eight years after continued on page 14

30-layer crepe cake, one of four desserts at Brasserie la Banque Photos by Ashley Rose Stanol


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CORNHOLE MONDAYS


14 || DISH || Summer 2021

Photos by Ashley Rose Stanol

Executive chef Jeb Aldrich launched his career in Charleston at Peninsula Grill Elegance from page 12

BOWEN’S ISLAND RESTAURANT Whether you’re a first-time guest or a long-time regular, our aim is to serve you simple, excellent seafood. Just 5 minutes from Folly Beach, we’re famous for our locally harvested oysters, fried shrimp, hushpuppies, Frogmore stew, cold beer, and undisturbed views of the river, marshes, islands, and wildlife.

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OPEN TUE - SAT, 4:30-9:30PM WE TAKE CREDIT CARDS, BUT NOT RESERVATIONS

Carolina First, now TD Bank, moved out of the space in 2006. After a renovation by the current owner, the building was converted into a restaurant in 2017 known as One Broad, operating until the eatery announced plans to permanently close in 2020. “For the longest time, the building sat empty, and I would walk by and think, ‘This building reminds me so much of Paris,’” said Palmer. “And when I heard it was going to be available again, I just knew it needed to be a brasserie.” Once the plan was in motion, Palmer got executive chef Jeb Aldrich on board. Aldrich, who attended culinary school in Charleston and launched his career at Peninsula Grill in 2001, was previously working for Indigo Road at Tiny Lou’s in Atlanta, looking for a reason to come back to Charleston. “I went to Johnson & Wales here,” said Aldrich, “I started my career here, so to come back and open a restaurant is full circle for me.” Aldrich is classically trained in French cuisine, having worked under James Beard award-winning chef Joël Antunes in Atlanta, so he’s familiar with the structure of French cuisine and brigade-style cooking. But, a brasserie is meant to be a casual setting, so Palmer and Aldrich hope to incorporate a more laid-back kitchen environment alongside the regimented structure. “A brasserie, to me, feels good all the time,” explained Palmer. “You can go in for a late lunch at 2:30. You can go in for a proper dinner. You can show up at 11 p.m. and have a drink. It’s just one of those restaurants that you feel like it’s always the right time to go to.”

La Banque is serving lunch, happy hour, dinner and late-night snacks at the basement bar downstairs, formerly occupied by Bakers Bar. The driving idea is a return to approachable French food — not fine dining. The menu is broken down into five sections: raw bar, hors d’oeuvres, seafood, meat and sides. Aldrich wants to keep the raw bar simple with two oyster options — one from the Northeast and one local — local crab, shrimp cocktail and a mini lobster roll. Similar to a ceviche, yellowfin tuna escabeche is a standout item from the raw bar, but Aldrich adds his own twist by using verjus, a kind of fermented grape juice, instead of vinegar. continued on page 16


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GRASS FINISHED BEEF HERITAGE PORK PASTURED CHICKEN CHOPS ROASTS


16 || DISH || Summer 2021

Elegance from page 14

The happy hour menu from 3-5 p.m. will feature some raw bar items as well as crudites and a traditional French dish of chilled radishes and clarified butter. “It’s a very French thing to do,” Aldrich said. Hors d’oeuvres selections include a seasonal mushroom tart, beef tartare, sweetbreads and butter-poached lobster, along with duck consomme with foie gras dumplings, beech mushrooms, fennel and pickled apricot. “Right now, we’re doing a crepe de comte with carrots and pop sorghum,” said Aldrich, “It’s kind of a take on a traditional dish with a little pop of Southern ingredients like sorghum.” The appetizers will change regularly, but the black cocoa-cured foie gras torchon is slated to stay on the menu indefinitely. Main dishes are separated by la mer (seafood) and l’abattoir (meat). A local daily catch and bouillabaisse are stars of the seafood section, making use of local ingredients from purveyors like Tarvin Seafood. Whole-roasted loup de mer (seabass), will also appear on the menu. No brasserie would be complete without steak frittes. To prepare the dish, Angus beef coulotte is cooked in butter for four hours, then seared, blanched and rested before slicing. The dish is topped off with the house-made “sauce du banque.”

Photos by Ashley Rose Stanol

Main dishes are separated into two sections: la mer (seafood) and l’abattoir (meat) “This sauce is inspired by a restaurant in France that only serves steak frites,” Aldrich said. “But we added our own take to it. They use chicken livers; we add foie gras.” Diners will also discover a poulet rouge dish, one of Palmer’s favorites. Poulet rouge refers to a heritage breed of chicken, which the restaurant is sourcing from Joyce Farms

in North Carolina. The dish will be served with vegetables, pomme macaire — a French potato cake — and a dark chicken jus. Downstairs, the restaurant has a dryaged duck cooler. In its opening months, Brasserie la Banque will offer an aged Rohan duck confit spring cassoulet, a slowcooked stew with local lady peas, tomato

confit, leeks, pearl onion, pistachio and candied garlic jus. To cap off your meal, indulge in one of four desserts like profiteroles or a slice of 30-layer crepe cake. Some mainstays will take up permanent residence on the menu, but otherwise, Aldrich expects to swap out dishes seasonally. But descend into the basement bar, and you’ll find new menu items on the regular. “That menu will be a little more playful and give the cooks a chance to be creative and have fun with the ingredients,” Aldrich said. The cozy, 30-seat bar will serve five to six late-night dishes, two or three desserts and a meat and cheese plate from 11 p.m.-1 a.m. on weekends. Former bar manager of The Macintosh, Ian Abriatis, will head up the bar at La Banque, offering his own interpretation of classic French cocktails, some dating back more than 100 years, like the French 75 with chartreuse and the boulevardier. Overall, Palmer wants the brasserie to exude a comfortable, inviting atmosphere with a touch of elegance. “You’ll feel like you’re in a pretty place without wondering if you’re underdressed,” he said. “You can pop in and have pâté, cheese, some oysters, and you wouldn’t have thought to make a reservation. It’s just the place that you can always drop by. That’s the essence of a brasserie.”

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is certainly authentic, and it’s just what Charleston needs

I 

By Jeff Allen

f you’ve heard of it at all, you probably saw Old Li’s thrust itself upon the late-pandemic social media food scene with the same alacrity as Mexican birria tacos overtook pop-up dinner establishments about town. But while the local hipster crowd luxuriated themselves chasing down an online diaspora of mediocre chili beef, they gawked mostly at the couple lung tablets and saliva chicken on the menu down at Li’s. Expats hailing from cities with richer international dining scenes largely gave it a thumbsup. Someone made TikTok videos in the style of a classic used car commercial, declaring it “authentic.” In the outskirts of major food cities in the Atlantic Seaboard — northeast of Atlanta, across the Potomac from D.C., the eastern boroughs of NYC — Li’s would certainly fit right in. Which is to say that Li’s menu and setting might be average and pedestrian in some of those places. But in Charleston? Break out the mooncakes, baby! It’s a New Year, Chucktown! Li’s is certainly authentic, but not because of what they are. In a city that sold its soul to tourism, Li’s exemplifies what it is not. The young women running the front of the house aren’t feverishly curating bytes of 15-minute social media fame — even if perhaps one day they get wise to the present horrors of TikTok and Instagram — and they’re not front-running a theme-park backed by a mountain of private equity. There was no soft opening, or PR firms with kitschy names. No Garden & Gun exclusive continued on page 21

Look for authentic dishes like saliva chicken and lychee pork at Old Li’s

Photos by Ashley Rose Stanol

18 || DISH || Summer 2021

O   ld L   i’s West Ashley’s


FULL BAR HCB KITCHEN

OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK DAILY 12 - 7PM SUN 11AM - 3PM VOTED CHARLESTON’S BEST LOCAL BREWERY 2020

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charlestoncitypaper.com || 19

TAKEOUT BRUNCH


20 || DISH || Summer 2021


Old Li’s from page 18

7/7 7/11 7/14 7/18 7/21 7/25 7/28

Bubba Bryant Green Thieves Duo Super Reggae Man Andrew Beam Molly Durnin Sol Food (Full Band) Louis D

Lunch & Dinner Every Day at 11am Kitchen Open til 10pm

8/1 8/4 8/8 8/11 8/15

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8/18 8/22 8/25 8/29 9/1

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Music schedule subject to change.

Bars Open til 12am Sunday -Thursday Friday & Saturday 1am

Mt. P. – Shem Creek – 1313 Shrimp Boat Lane (843) 844-4440 VickerysMtP.com

charlestoncitypaper.com || 21

with glossed photos of the only lacquered Peking duck that I know of between here and Fairfax, Virginia. Li’s doesn’t really jive with your prepandemic peninsula crowd. In the last half-decade, you paid extra for a place where you could eat with people that looked predominantly like yourself. But grasping the “authentic” meant dining amongst peoples you’d never consider having over to dinner. That’s why everyone hailing from north of Pedro’s sombrero has f locked to Bertha’s Kitchen, after all. “Crane your neck, twist it hard, and you can almost see Charleston Harbor from the front stoop,” part-time ESPN food analyst John T. Edge once proclaimed, as if he’d just landed with Christopher Columbus on pristine shores. The promise of authenticity certainly attracts throngs of customers toting newly acquired sweetgrass baskets, even to “the industrial reaches of Meeting Street Road,” as Edge described it. But the “discovery” never lasts, and “authenticity” devoid of a surrounding supportive community regularly fades into economic oblivion. Modern Charleston is a testament to that. All the press in the world from The Lee Bros couldn’t save Martha Lou’s Kitchen last year. But John T’s from off. Let’s blame him. So don’t come to Old Li’s because your Facebook pal proclaims it “real” Chinese. Which presumably means they don’t cook standard Americanized takePhotos by Ashley Rose Stanol out fare, nor even the Boston variants of Joyce Chen fame. Li’s offers a competent Old Li’s is very much a family affair, menu of morsels spanning a Chinese cul- with everyone helping out tural landscape three-times the size of the Indian subcontinent. So, go for the sweet lychee meat (no actual lychees are harmed in its making) or Fuding pork soup, which hail from chef Xai Yun Huang’s home province of Fujian. Fuding pork is particularly rare in the U.S., but a mainstay of Northern Fujian’s soupheavy cuisine. There are other delights from farther afield. Those “lung tablets” don’t contain any real lungs, of course. But the cold slices of braised beef come slathered in delicious chili oil from Sichuan province, with it’s spicy and numbing “MaLa” f lavors. “Squirrel Fish”, a staple of Jiangsu cuisine, likewise contains no squirrels, but constitutes a crispy deep-fried tangle of battered fish slathered in sweet and sour sauce. There is cloud pumpkin beef and that cold saliva chicken (translates as “mouthwatering chicken”) dripping in spicy oil. The common denominator is that it’s all delicious. So, let’s leave it at that and not call them particularly authentic, or exotic for that matter. Let’s just call them great cooks. And let’s not go there to simply “try something out of our comfort zone” before posting humblebrags on social media. Let’s just go on a random weeknight to sit down and Old Li’s lacquered Peking duck is a eat. Perhaps they’ll stick around for a while can’t-miss item at the West Ashley restaurant and locals will be able to get a seat.


22 || DISH || Summer 2021

Daps’ Cinnamon Toast Crunch sticky buns are one example of the Westside restaurant’s whimsical, unorthodox style Rūta Smith file photo


Our top restaurants in Charleston for Summer 2021  O

ur summer list of top 50 Charleston restaurants welcomes three newcomers, each of which offer something a little different for local patrons. Chubby Fish returns to the top 50 after the City Paper’s “Best Chef ” in 2020 reopened his buzzing Coming Street restaurant in April, and over on Wentworth Street, Vivian Howard’s Lenoir is already earning acclaim for reinvented Southern specialties. Our third addition is delivering Westside residents and a growing number of tourists all-day breakfast with a twist, and there’s so much more from the other 47 restaurants returning to the top 50. In a city filled with delicious dining destinations, being named to the top 50 is no small feat, but with everything from brunch to raw seafood and classic French fare, there’s something for all Charleston diners on our top 50. Without further ado, here are the Dish top 50 restaurants for summer 2021.

167 Raw SEAFOOD

Moderate Downtown. 193 King St. (843) 579-4997 167raw.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

Surrounded by high-end boutiques, swanky inns, antique stores and art galleries, 167 Raw’s new King Street home sits along a quiet stretch of storefronts. But fear not, they’re still boasting the same lineup of New England bivalves and lobstah rolls that were much-lauded at their original (teeny) East Bay spot. The first f loor of the ever-so-charming 19th century building is long and narrow, with original brick walls and a new walnut bar. Even with four times (at least) as much seating as their original space, 167 Raw gets packed. Arrive early to tuck into your 10-hour carnita tacos, scallop po’ boy or crudo of the moment. —Mary Scott Hardaway

Babas on Cannon EUROPEAN

Moderate Downtown. 11 Cannon St. (843) 284-6260 babasoncannon.com Serving Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner (Tues.-Sun.)

ITALIAN

Moderate Mount Pleasant. 976 Houston Northcutt Blvd. (843) 884-6969 baccocharleston.com Serving Lunch (Tues.-Fri.), Dinner (Tues.–Sat.)

For more than a dozen years, Mount Pleasant’s Bacco has successfully pulled off the idea of that fabled “neighborhood Italian place” you hear about in other cities: small, friendly service with straightforward Southern Italian food that creates regulars out of customers. Start your meal with the fire-roasted olives, warm multi-varietal and multi-textured olives straight out of the wood burning oven. The insalata di polpo, tender braised and grilled octopus, is a highlight of the antipasti. The Italian focused cocktail menu is no slouch with a barrel-aged negroni and the Ficcho Bello, a fizzy drink with fig infused vodka with rosemary and cherry bitters. The primi course is where chef Michael Scognamiglio shines. The gnocchi bolognese are little airy pillows tossed in meaty bolognese and the Risi e Bisi is a buttery parmesan packed risotto with peas and pancetta. If you’ve made it this far, the secondi course serves up dishes like beefy tomato and red wine braised meatballs with polenta, an Italian take on chicken cordon bleu and sausage and peppers that would make your Nona proud. —Robert Donovan

Basic Kitchen CAFE

Moderate Downtown. 82 Wentworth St. (843) 789-4568 basickitchen.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (Mon.-Sat.), Weekend Brunch

In a city filled with hearty Southern cuisine, sometimes it’s tricky to find a flavorful, light meal. Not so at Basic Kitchen — according to co-owner Ben Towill, that has been exactly the goal since opening the restaurant with his wife Kate in 2017. “We want to provide continued on page 24

Bringing Southern Hospitality to the American Steakhouse VOTED BEST Restaurant • Downtown Restaurant Summerville Restaurant • Sommelier: Sam Cooper Steak • Wait Staff • Upscale Bar • Martini Sunday Brunch • Downtown Brunch Restaurant When Someone Else is Paying

Downtown • 424 King St. Nexton/Summerville • 300 Nexton Square Dr. Also visit Halls in Columbia & Greenville • Nashville Coming Soon!

HallsChophouse.com

charlestoncitypaper.com || 23

Babas on Cannon is one of those places that truly does everything well, even more impressive when you glance at its expansive daily menu. There’s strong espresso, baked goods, avocado toast, salads and sandwiches during the day followed by small bites and aperitifs later at night. Nearly everything is house-made — from peanut milk to banana bread topped with flakey sea salt — and the ingredients are always local. Want to get in and out quickly? Babas has its own app for easy online ordering. If you’re staying awhile, you’ll find it to be the type of place where the employees want to know your name and remember your order. Babas’ ability to maintain that comfortable neighborhood vibe while keeping customers’ safety front of mind is truly a work of art. With a welcoming space and the food to match, Babas on Cannon delivers on its promise to mimic an old world European cafe. —Parker Milner

Bacco


24 || DISH || Summer 2021

Top 50 Top 50 from page 23

massive flavor and a meal that’s hearty but still feels light.” Since taking over as Basic Kitchen executive chef in 2020, Charlie Layton has homed in on this mission by creating more wholesome dishes that highlight vegetables from local purveyors and meat from small family farms. BK’s lunch menu is divided into small plates, bowls, salads, sandwiches and sweets. As for dinner selections, Towill says, “We wanted to narrow our focus by adding more classical entrees, and Nathan Wentworth has enhanced our wine program by making it all natural, biodynamic wines.” —Parker Milner

Bertha’s Kitchen SOUL FOOD

Inexpensive Downtown. 2332 Meeting Street Road (843) 554-6519 Serving Lunch, Dinner (Mon.-Fri.)

Head up Meeting Street until you see a twostory robin’s egg blue building with purple trim and a line stretching out the door. The Southern soul food platters here are so tasty, generous and inexpensive, that the line starts forming well before they open for lunch. Businessmen, laborers and far-flung tourists alike shuffle through the quick

cafeteria-style service counter loaded with a smorgasbord of meat and threes, such as fried pork chops, fish specials, yams, stewed greens, home-style mac-and-cheese, limas nestled with smoked turkey necks, dark roux okra soup, moist cornbread and fried chicken better than anyone’s Grandma ever made. —Allston McCrady

Bistronomy by Nico FRENCH

Expensive Downtown. 64 Spring St. (843) 410-6221 bistronomybynico.com Serving Dinner (daily)

One month after getting the keys to 64 Spring St., Bistronomy by Nico co-owners Nico Romo and Dominique Chantepie opened the French bistro after revamping the space previously occupied by Josephine Wine Bar. Since opening in November 2020, Bistronomy has served playful plates like escargot rice dumplings, goat cheese spring rolls and lobster with candied ginger in a setting reminiscent of a Parisian bistro. The cuisine mirrors the vibrant atmosphere and draws on celebrated dishes from Romo’s 10 years at Fish, which closed in 2017 after 17 years on King Street. Romo calls Bistronomy’s menu approachable French cuisine with an Asian fusion twist. “There

Let Them

were a lot of dishes and food I was doing like the duck steam bun that I had,” Romo told the Charleston City Paper. “I had a big following then for that food, which I do not do at NICO, which is more flat classic French with an oyster bar.” Look for those duck steamed buns, tuna tartare with shrimp “chips” and a tomato and panko-fried mozzarella salad in the small plates section, while the entrees consist of plates like truffle chicken, cassoulet and scallops with coconut rice, all under $30. —Parker Milner

Bowens Island Restaurant SEAFOOD

Moderate James Island. 1870 Bowens Island Road (843) 795-2757 bowensisland.com Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sat.)

Don’t expect white tablecloth and maitre’d service at Bowens Island. It’s famously no frills, but it’s worth it. The nightly crowds are a testament to the family fish camp. Since its founding in 1946, it’s grown from a grimy, albeit quaint, cinderblock outpost to a pluff-mud pantheon that offers up damn good fried seafood, hushpuppies and cold local beer in its upstairs dining room. Follow your nose downstairs and elbow-out yourself a space at the all-you-can-eat oyster

! E Eat CAK

tables and slurp down tasty local oysters by the shovelful that were likely pulled off the marsh that day. Oyster season or not, we have a hard time passing up the Frogmore Stew, a pot full of potatoes, sausage, corn on the cob and shrimp steamed together as God intended it. —Sam Spence

Butcher & Bee MEDITERRANEAN

Moderate Downtown. 1085 Morrison Drive. (843) 619-0202 butcherandbee.com Serving Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (daily), Weekend Brunch

Going on five years since it moved to a bright, sunny building on Morrison Drive, Butcher & Bee is an elevated restaurant that belies its hipster hangout roots in its old dark, tiny space on Upper King Street. B&B’s menu features a large range of dishes with everything from falafel to decadent burgers to carefully crafted fresh seafood and veggie-forward dishes. An excellent feature present on the menu for brunch, lunch and dinner is B&B’s mezze selection, a collection of small plates with a Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influence. It’s safe to say that pretty much anything you order from here will be incredibly creative. —Suzanne Cohen

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Our go-to restaurant list

Charleston Grill MODERN AMERICAN

Very Expensive Downtown. 224 King St. (843) 577-4522 charlestongrill.com Serving Dinner (daily)

Amid ever-shifting culinary fashions, Charleston Grill has remained one of the city’s crown jewels by delivering a consistently flawless dining experience. Executive chef Michelle Weaver’s dishes can be decadently lush, like her beef tenderloin with bourguignon sauce or seared foie gras with an apple hand pie topped with whipped mascarpone crème fraîche. The dishes are balanced, ingredient-centric creations, like a delicate charred octopus tossed with chorizo croquettes, served with smooth adobo aioli, while contemporary spins on Southern cuisine are bold and satisfying. The best way to experience the full sweep of the cuisine is with Weaver’s four-to-eight course tasting menu, which may well be the most impressive in town. —Robert F. Moss

Chez Nous FRENCH

Expensive Downtown. 6 Payne Court. (843) 579-3060 cheznouschs.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (Tues.-Sun.), Sun. Brunch

Most mornings before lunch, the Chez Nous Instagram feed (@cheznouscharleston) features a picture of the day’s menu, handwritten in black ink on a small white card in executive chef Jill Mathias’ eccentric and highly stylized script. Next comes a separate picture of each and every dish being served that day, taken from above in flawless light. Admittedly, it’s only seven pictures total, since Chez Nous serves just two starters, two entrees and two desserts, and the selection changes daily. The setting is charmingly old and the cuisine European-inspired, but it’s hardly a throwback to an older mode of dining. Chez Nous stands alone just as it is, an eccentric outlier. With such a dynamic menu, any review of Chez Nous is by necessity a fleeting snapshot. On my last visit each of the courses balanced a dark, heavier dish with a brighter fish-based option, and each was splendid, though in very different ways. —Robert F. Moss

Chubby Fish SEAFOOD

Executive chef James London serves a hyperlocal, daily changing menu at this vibrant Coming Street restaurant. And while the fish selection may vary, London is known for a few signature preparations. Expect raw oysters, crudos and likely one small plate that incorporates caviar, along with heartier options like king mackerel curry, crab

Rūta Smith file photo

The lobster tail at Nico Romo’s Bistronomy tagliatelle and lamb ribs. We recommend ordering several dishes and sharing with the group before finishing off with sweets from Life Raft Treats’ Cynthia Wong, who supplies Chubby Fish with dessert. Chubby Fish doesn’t take reservations, but it’s well worth the wait for one of 30 or so seats inside the restaurant that prides itself on turning under utilized types of fish into dishes you’ll crave for weeks. —Parker Milner

Coda del Pesce ITALIAN/SEAFOOD

Expensive Isle of Palms. 1130 Ocean Blvd. (843) 242-8570 codadelpesce.com Serving Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

With Coda del Pesce, chef/owner Ken Vedrinski of longtime downtown mainstay Trattoria Lucca headed out to Isle of Palms to create a beachside Italian seafood restaurant. The beautiful second-story dining room has brick walls, reclaimed wood floors and, in a rarity for the Lowcountry, floor-to-ceiling windows offering a lovely view of the Atlantic. It’s an ideal setting for Vedrinski’s signature high-end Italian fare, which offers plenty of bright flavors and unexpected twists. Masterful pasta anchors the primi selection, which includes tagliatelle tossed with blue crab, Colatura di Alici, lemon and basil. The secondi highlight fresh fish like black bass, and there’s a little heavier fare, too, like naturally raised veal “marsala.” Pair any of these with an Italian wine from the impressive list, and you’ll have one splendid fish tale to share with friends. —Robert F. Moss continued on page 26

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Expensive Downtown. 252 Coming St. (843) 222-3949 Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sat.)

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26 || DISH || Summer 2021

Top 50 Top 50 from page 25

Daps Breakfast & Imbibe BREAKFAST/BRUNCH

Inexpensive Downtown. 280 Ashley Ave. (843) 718-1098 Serving Breakfast, Brunch (Thurs.-Tues.) dapsbreakfast.com

Breakfast fanatics have found a home at Daps Breakfast & Imbibe, where owners Nick Dowling and Jeremiah Schenzel serve sandwiches, daily specials and whimsical plates like Fruity Pebble pancakes or Cinnamon Toast Crunch sticky buns. But don’t be fooled by the duo’s unorthodox take on the morning meal — each composed plate has a local touch, whether its pork from Holy City Hogs or eggs from Fili-West Farms. The fun-loving atmosphere is the perfect summertime escape, as patrons sip Daps’ canned mimosas on the patio while sinking into the sorghum mayo-topped chickpea sandwich, patty melt or spicy West Coast-style breakfast burrito. —Parker Milner

Dave’s Carry-Out SOUL FOOD/SEAFOOD

Inexpensive Downtown. 42-C Morris St. (843) 577-7943 Serving Lunch, Dinner (Tues.-Sat.)

This soul food joint offers a true taste of

Charleston. For under $10 you can get a takeout box filled to the brim with the best of Lowcountry cooking like pork chops, crispy chicken wings and finger-lickin’ ribs. The selection of sides is small but tasty — try the lima beans, thick steak fries, or red beans and rice. The lunch specials change daily, but your best bet is to go with a seafood platter — they range from $7 for a generous portion of shrimp to $13 for shrimp, fish, scallops and devil crab. If you want a true local experience, opt for the lima beans and rice. It’s meaty and filling. A few tables allow customers to dine in, but most folks get their Dave’s to-go, whether for lunch or a greasy evening snack. —Melissa Tunstall

Delaney Oyster House SEAFOOD

Moderate Downtown. 115 Calhoun St. (843) 594-0099 delaneyoysterhouse.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (daily)

The Neighborhood Dining Group — owners of Husk — have converted an old single house on Calhoun Street into a stunner of a seafood restaurant. The raw bar offerings range from local oysters and clams to Kaluga caviar, and executive chef Shamil Velazquez’s inventive small plates are stylish

and intensely flavored. Menus have featured rich kombu-poached lobster tossed with orbs of tangy Asian pear, ground peanuts and green Thai basil leaves, while a deconstructed chowder delivers tender clams, mussels, shrimp and a flawless peach-hued scallop within a pool of creamy, savory broth. Each dish is finished with precise visual style that befits the picture-perfect setting. Grab a seat out on the second floor piazza, order a glass of chilled red wine and dive in. —Robert F. Moss

Edmund’s Oast MODERN AMERICAN

Expensive Downtown. 1081 Morrison Drive. (843) 727-1145 edmundsoast.com Serving Dinner (Mon.-Sat.), Sun. Brunch

This hip gastropub has a laid-back vibe. There are communal tables, as well as a chef ’s counter and an expansive outdoor patio. Chef Bob Cook’s menu highlights include the house-made charcuterie and cheese plates, plus upscale bar food like fried tripe, hanger steak, or crispy chicken with green curry sauce. The drink menu is every bit as compelling, rife with small batch cocktails, meads and a host of inventive beers brewed on-site. And the happy hour in The Bower when the weather’s nice, well,

the price and vibes cannot be beat. —Vanessa Wolf

Estadio TAPAS

Moderate Downtown. 122 Spring St. estadio-chs.com Serving Dinner (daily), Weekend Brunch

Estadio, which opened on Spring Street in October 2019, is technically the second outpost of a successful Washington, D.C., Spanish-style bar and tapas restaurant. The decor and the deep sherry and gin selection echo the D.C. original, but executive chef Alex Lira’s impressive menu is unique to Charleston. The pintxos and tapas — grilled shrimp on skewers, crisp patatas bravas, tuna-topped “seven minute” eggs — offer beguiling little bites. Fresh local shellfish and savory sofrito- and saffron-laced rice — especially the crispy bits charred to the edges of the flat metal cooking pan — transform the seafood paella into an unforgettable treat. With a slate of sherry cocktails, “gin tonics” made with rare Spanish brands and porróns of wine, Estadio brings a brilliant taste of Spain to the heart of downtown Charleston. —Robert F. Moss

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Our go-to restaurant list

EVO

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PIZZA

BARBECUE

Inexpensive North Charleston. 1075 E. Montague Ave. (843) 225-1796 evopizza.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (daily)

At EVO, the use of fresh, local ingredients is key, and they’ve been keeping it local from the very beginning, back when they were a mobile wood-fired oven serving pizza at the farmers market in Marion Square. Large chalkboards decorate the walls, listing local ingredients from various farms, along with daily specials, ranging from housemade sausages to duck crostini. But we’re partial to the pizza. The crust is thin and slightly charred, and the mozzarella is made fresh and pulled in-house twice a day. The pistachio pesto pie was named one of the best pizzas in the country by Food Network Magazine, and the sinful Pork Trifecta keeps customers coming back. Check out the beer list for what’s on tap, and you’ll find plenty of local brews to keep your inner beer snob happy. —Kinsey Gidick

MODERN AMERICAN

Inexpensive West Ashley. 1205 Ashley River Road (843) 225-7427 Downtown. 126 Williman St. (843) 225-7427 Sullivan’s Island. 2209 Middle St. (843) 225-7427 hometeambbq.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (daily), Weekend Brunch

With three Charleston locations, plus two Upstate and another way out in Aspen, Colorado, pitmaster/chefs Aaron Siegel and Taylor Garrigan have built an acclaimed barbecue empire. Whether you’re at the West Ashley original or at the newer outposts on Sullivan’s Island or downtown, the barbecue offering is anchored by pulled pork, smoked chicken, ribs and a superb salt-and-pepper brisket, all cooked over wood on offset metal pits. Siegel’s and Garrigan’s fine-dining roots show in an array of creative snacks and tacos, like chopped brisket sliders on brioche buns and smoked shrimp tacos with white bean puree. There’s always a cheffy special or two, like pulled pork empanadas or a pit-smoked pork chop with purple cabbage and apple, and don’t miss out on Home Team’s smoked chicken wings with tangy white Alabamastyle sauce. —Robert F. Moss

Very Expensive Downtown. 232 Meeting St. (843) 805-5900 eatatfig.com Serving Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

In 2003, Chef Mike Lata set out to prove that ‘food is good.’ After blazing a trail for the robust local farm-to-table restaurant scene, FIG still stands out, winning awards and creating devotees year after year. Although snagging a reservation can be a challenge, the seasonally inspired cuisine and impeccable service are worth the effort. Change is a constant, but stalwart menu standbys like the fish stew provencal and pillowy ricotta gnocchi alla bolognese never fail to satisfy. Be sure to check out the wine offerings, as — along with two nods for Best Chef Southeast — FIG is also a national James Beard award winner for Outstanding Wine Program. —Vanessa Wolf

The Glass Onion NEW SOUTHERN

Moderate West Ashley. 1219 Savannah Hwy. (843) 225-1717 ilovetheglassonion.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (Mon.-Sat.), Sat. Brunch

Since 2008, the Glass Onion has exemplified the “neighborhood favorite” category

— a restaurant less formal and ambitious than a fine dining spot but still delivering seriously delicious meals. The offering blends the home cooking of chef/owner Chris Stewart’s native Alabama with dishes and styles he absorbed while working in fine dining kitchens, first in New Orleans and then in Charleston. That means hearty, savory gumbo brimming with okra and sausage, cajun boudin balls with creole mustard and crisp okra beignets served with spicy red remoulade. Pristine local seafood makes for fresh, satisfying plates, like pan-roasted flounder served over tender braised beans and thick mashed potatoes. A few more adventurous entrees, like a beguilingly dark rabbit ragout with ricotta gnocchi, pop up with regularity alongside hearty Southern classics like shrimp and grits and fried catfish with red rice. It’s a surefire formula for a satisfying meal. —Robert F. Moss

The Grocery MODERN AMERICAN

Expensive Downtown. 4 Cannon St. (843) 302-8825 thegrocerycharleston.com Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sun.), Sun. Brunch

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Top 50 Top 50 from page 27

and inviting, chef/owner Kevin Johnson’s menus are seasonally inspired and passionately local. Utilizing a mix of fresh farmed, fished and foraged ingredients, The Grocery exemplifies farm-to-table dining. The Southern/Mediterranean offerings have included such highlights as fried oysters with deviled egg sauce and bread and butter pickles. Year-round standbys include the generous portions of Lowcountry seafood pilau and the changing varieties of roasted whole fish, cooked in the restaurant’s massive wood-burning oven. Along with a celebrated Sunday brunch, The Grocery’s innovative cocktail program features standouts like the dirty green tomato, a martini made with pickled green tomato juice. —Vanessa Wolf

Husk Restaurant NEW SOUTHERN

Expensive Downtown. 76 Queen St. (843) 577-2500 huskrestaurant.com Serving Lunch (Mon.-Sat.), Dinner (daily) Sun. Brunch

Husk has outposts in Nashville, Greenville and Savannah, but this location — housed in a white mansion on Queen Street — is

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the original. Here, executive chef Travis Grimes carries out the vision of innovative, modern farm-to-table perfection. The kitchen creates such must-try marvels like Southern fried chicken skins, ‘Kentuckyaki’ pigs ear lettuce wraps, or the hulking Carolina heritage pork chop, while dessert offerings include such innovations as the savory-sweet cornbread pudding. There’s a welcoming, rustic atmosphere indoors, but if weather permits, sit out on the upstairs porch and enjoy what is, without hesitation, Southern food at its best. —Vanessa Wolf

Jackrabbit Filly CHINESE

Moderate North Charleston. 4628 Spruill Ave. (843) 460-0037 jackrabbitfilly.com Serving Lunch (Wed.-Sat.), Dinner (Wed.-Sun.) Sun. Brunch

The menu at Jackrabbit Filly — Shuai and Corrie Wang’s brick-and-mortar jump from their popular Short Grain food truck — takes quintessential Asian fare, and adds some vamp. The pork and cabbage dumplings are where Yangtze meets Ganges, with a rich mix of pork, cabbage, ginger and coriander encased inside the perfectly cooked pasta wrapper. Topped


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with a pungent chinkiang vinegar and Lao Gan Ma chili crisp sauce, the first bite is like suddenly finding something you hadn’t even realized was missing. Short Grain’s beloved karaage endures — the meat is juicy, the coating crunchy, and the drizzle of lemon mayo and ponzu, along with some togarashi-induced heat, should be presented with the following disclaimer: “The karaage is a small structure made of chicken. It is delicious, and you are not ready for it.” While no World Famous Jackrabbit Filly twist contest exists (yet), a similar, multi-tiered, two-foot tall trophy sounds about right. Grab some friends, share the love and share it hard. —Vanessa Wolf

Kwei Fei CHINESE

Moderate James Island. 1977 Maybank Hwy. kweifei.com Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sat.), Sun. Brunch

Set next door to Charleston Pour House in the space previously occupied by The Lot, Kwei Fei’s interior looks the same-ish, except now the chairs are yellow and you’ll find some Asian knick knacks scattered about. But the updates are the only understated thing about Kwei Fei. Pretty much nothing else — from the food to the music

to the chef himself — can be described as subtle. Kwei Fei’s menu is an equally wild ride, offering an array of appetizers, entrees and veggie-based sides sorted into blocks labeled “Loud,” “Hot” and “Vibes.” The crescent dumplings are an outstanding way to give your tastebuds a crash course in the events to come. Made with ground pork and redolent Sichuan pepper, the five plump dumplings are served in a soy-based, vinegary sauce and topped with fresh cilantro and chives. Hot, sour, salty, sweet: everyone’s here. On the “vibes” side of things, vegetarians are well-taken care of with the dry-fried green beans. Here some rice makes sense and adds bulk to the delicate haricots verts, which are coated with an intense, chunky garlic and ginger combo with a little spicy kick. But of course. —Vanessa Wolf

Le Farfalle ITALIAN

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30 || DISH || Summer 2021

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Top 50

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The butterbean agnolotti at at Vivian Howard’s Lenoir is served with country ham broth, pecan gremolata and chervil Top 50 from page 29

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upscale space is generously laid out with an elegant bar suitable for a quick lunch of agnolotti pasta or a relaxed after-dinner conversation over craft cocktails. Dinner service starts with a slice from the restaurant’s ginormous wedge of ParmigianoReggiano cheese, but matters are then in your own hands. Seasonal appetizer stand outs have included a veal tartare toast served with shoestring fries and a sublime octopus carpaccio. You can’t go wrong with the housemade pastas, and other memorable dinner selections have included a vibrant whole branzino with pine nuts and a tender fried chicken picatta. —Vanessa Wolf

Lenoir NEW SOUTHERN

Downtown. 68 Wentworth St. (843) 534-9031 dineatlenoir.com Serving Dinner (Wed.-Sun.)

Chef Vivian Howard’s first restaurants outside Eastern North Carolina opened in

Charleston in the first half of 2021. After PBS’ A Chef ’s Life introduced Howard to audiences far from her first restaurant, Chef & the Farmer in Kinston, N.C., she now has two concepts open in the Wentworthfacing side of the downtown Renaissance Hotel. Handy & Hot checks the boxes as the hotel’s quick-service lobby cafe (with the addition of snackable hand pies and knockout biscuit sandwiches), but Lenoir is where Howard will make her mark. Tables ring the cozy dining room around a central bar, and a steady stream of reinvented Southern specialties flow from the kitchen. With dishes ranging from local crudo and butterbean agnolotti to the K-town patty melt, Howard’s touch as a chef is apparent without taking things too seriously. Chef Tyson Detzler brings experience at Chef & the Farmer to Howard’s Charleston kitchen, so you know anything local and seasonal will be a good bet on your table. —Sam Spence continued on page 32


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Top 50 Top 50 from page 30

Leon’s Fine Poultry & Oysters SEAFOOD

Moderate Downtown. 698 King St. (843) 531-6500 leonsoystershop.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (daily)

The chargrilled oysters at Leon’s embody the restaurant’s approach to food: unfussy and delicious. The fish fry platter is a jumble of oysters, shrimp and fish battered and delicately fried and served with a tartar sauce so good we sometimes just dip a fork in it in between bites. If we know anything about restaurateurs Brooks Reitz and Tim Mink, it’s that they know how to design a restaurant that both looks and feels good. This is the kind of place that gets in your regular rotation because it’s comfortable, delicious and reliable. —Stephanie Barna

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Lewis Barbecue BARBECUE

Moderate Downtown. 464 N. Nassau St. (843) 805-9500 lewisbarbecue.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (daily)

Lewis’ building houses four custom built smokers and a sausage smoker that can cook 1,600 links at a time, all hand built by Lewis

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and his father. Once inside, you’ll queue up to have meat hand-sliced by one of two meat-cutters stationed behind a long counter directing you to opposite ends. Lewis’ “life changing” beef brisket is definitely the star. The infinitely tender meat has a salty, peppery crust and shines with melted fat. But there’s also juicy smoked turkey, pulled pork, pork ribs and Texas sausage called “hot guts” available and priced by the pound (or hot guts by the link). After your tray is filled with your order of meats, choose your sides from mustardy potato salad, lemon slaw, cowboy beans and rich green chile corn pudding. —Robert Donovan

Maison FRENCH

Expensive Downtown. 708 King St. (843) 990-9165 maisoncharleston.com Serving Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

Maison shares a low, unassuming King Street building with a climbing gym, but step inside and you’ll find an immaculate invocation of a stylish French bistro. There’s a pewter-topped bar, hexagonal white and black floor tiles and Parisian-style bistro chairs with white and black woven backs. The menu options — escargots, steak frites au poivre, coq au vin — seem to hew to tra-


Our go-to restaurant list

ditional bistro standards at first, but chef Vandy Vanderwarker gives each a creative, flavorful spin. The sultry coq au vin is a deconstructed delight, with long-marinated chicken that’s braised, shredded and blended with roasted ramps into an intensely flavored patty. A thick wedge of monkfish tail has a smooth, buttery bite beneath its golden brown sear, heightened by the unexpected richness of roasted chicken butter sauce. With deep, intense flavors and a playful sensibility, Maison’s daring interpretations of traditional French plates are a welcome addition to the Charleston scene. —Robert F. Moss

Malagon TAPAS

Moderate Downtown. 33 Spring St. (843) 926-0475 Serving Lunch, Dinner (Tues.-Sun.)

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Melfi’s ITALIAN

Expensive Downtown. 721 King St. (843) 513-0307 eatatmelfis.com Serving Dinner (daily)

Named for the family who once ran a pharmacy in the same space, Melfi’s menu offers updated takes on Italian staples. The polished, old-school dining room is warm and buzzy, providing a welcome backdrop to get your carbs on. Slip into a leather booth and proceed to feast on house-made linguine tossed with pancetta or littleneck clams, or “Roman-ish” pizza, like the Mr. Wally, made with vodka sauce, Fresno peppers, sliced salami and meaty hen-of-the-woods mushrooms. Don’t miss the delicate tuna continued on page 34

Custom Cakes Cupcakes Cake Pops Chewies and More!

Photos by Aneris Photography

Even experienced tapas lovers may find themselves a bit wide-eyed at Malagon — the eight-page menu isn’t fooling around. Rather, it gets right down to some sweet tapas tenderness, starting with familiar snacks like marcona almonds and dates wrapped in ham. The mojama (cured tuna belly) is a classic treat. Firm and salty, it’s often referred to as the jamón of the sea. Accompanied by roughly a dozen baby

potatoes, tender chunks of octopus have a silky texture similar to that of a rare scallop. The mild flavors of the two soft ingredients are dominated by the sprinkling of smoked paprika on top. Despite being ‘small plates’ and probably owing in part to all the potatoes, your meal can be surprisingly filling and notably affordable. Malagon is not only doing something different, they’re doing it extremely well. —Vanessa Wolf

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34 || DISH || Summer 2021

Top 50 Top 50 from page 33

NICO FRENCH

crudo with buttery pine nuts and Calabrian chile vinaigrette. And negroni aficionados will appreciate the choice of seven innovative variations. —Vanessa Wolf

Nana’s Uptown SOUL FOOD

Inexpensive North Charleston. 5117 Dorchester Road. (843) 937-9311 Serving Lunch and Dinner (Tues.-Sat.)

MODERN TRADITIONAL OAXACAN CUISINE

INGREDIENTS AND TECHNIQUES

MONDAY-SATURDAY 9AM-9:30 PM • BREAKFAST 9AM-11 AM • ALL DAY MENU 11AM-9:30 PM TEQUILA & TACO HOUR MONDAY – SATURDAY 3-6 PM 100-A SPRING ST • 843-764-9343 • PINKCACTUSCHS.COM

Downtown’s Nana’s Seafood & Soul closed in 2020 after nearly two decades on Line Street, but fans of the family owned and operated restaurant can still find its affordable Lowcountry fare at Nana’s Uptown, located in North Charleston at 5117 Dorchester Road. Mother and son duo Carolyn and Kenyatta McNeil’s takeoutand delivery-only outpost specializes in seafood, with options like flounder, whiting, shrimp, scallops and more. But that’s not all you’ll find at Nana’s. The chicken wings are a must, as are daily specials like crab legs with garlic shrimp. For sides, expect the classics, with the baked mac n cheese and bread pudding stealing the show, and don’t forget to wash it all down with Nana’s signature pineapple sweet tea. If we’ve learned anything over the past year, it’s that high quality takeout is something that can’t be taken for granted. Nana’s Uptown delivers every time, offering the North Charleston community an affordable option serving authentic eats. —Parker Milner

Neon Tiger VEGAN

Moderate Downtown. 654 King St. (843) 640-3902 Serving Dinner (Daily)

VOTED CHARLESTON’S BEST BURGER 7 TIMES 2210 MIDDLE ST • SULLIVAN’S ISLAND OPEN DAILY 11AM - 10PM • 843.883.0083 • POESTAVERN.COM

One of a handful of all-vegan establishments in Charleston, Neon Tiger doesn’t shy away from getting creative with its upscale offerings. The crispy konjac shrimp and trumpet mushroom calamari are two standout appetizer options for traditional seafood lovers. For a more classic veggieforward meal, look to main dishes like lentil ragout and the veggie bowl. But, if you want to venture out and see just what the chefs at Neon Tiger can do with an all plant-based menu, opt for the reuben sandwich with seitan smoked meat or the “Big Buffalo Chicken” sandwich that captures everything you love about a chicken sandwich — sans meat. And while you’re at it, order a pizza for the table to split like the barbecue jackfruit or formaggio and champignon. Whether you’re vegan or just looking to try something new, the creativity and flavor of Neon Tiger’s menu will impress. —Samantha Connors

Expensive Mount Pleasant. 201 Coleman Blvd. (843) 3527969 Serving Dinner (daily) and Weekend Brunch

NICO was the fine dining establishment Shem Creek had been waiting for when it opened in 2018. You wouldn’t know it based on the buzzing atmosphere and trendy decor, but NICO is located in a former Pizza Hut, adding to the restaurant’s allure. Executive chef Nico Romo’s menu has hints of flash with beautifully arranged raw bar platters and dishes like whole roasted lobster. Each plate that comes out of the open kitchen is a display of classic French techniques using South Carolina ingredients. Take his bouillabaisse de Marseille, which incorporates local fish, shrimp, mussels, clams and scallops, resulting in a wellexecuted rendition of the famous French dish. Eating at NICO feels comfortable and thrilling at the same time, meaning guests are always wanting to come back for more. If you’re looking for ambiance, show-stopping dishes and plenty of fresh oysters, NICO is your spot. —Parker Milner

Oak Steakhouse STEAKHOUSE

Expensive Downtown. 17 Broad St. (843) 722-4220 oaksteakhouserestaurant.com Serving Dinner (daily)

Located in a restored 150-year-old bank building, Oak is a long-running favorite for a big Charleston night out. Hefty prime ribeyes and strips are the main attractions, with luxurious family-style accompaniments like creamy whipped potatoes and lobster mac and cheese. Within the traditional steakhouse format there is always a twist or two, like a daily local seafood special or beef belly with sorghum barbecue sauce. The deep wine list focuses on California reds, and the service is reliably top-notch, regardless of whether you eat downstairs in the bar area, with its exposed brick walls and clubby red leather booths, or at the white cloth-draped tables in the second story dining room, its high windows looking out over Broad Street. —Robert F. Moss

The Obstinate Daughter SEAFOOD/SOUTHERN

Moderate Sullivan’s Island. 2063 Middle St. (843) 416-5020 theobstinatedaughter.com Serving Lunch (Mon.-Fri.), Dinner (daily), Weekend Brunch

At The Obstinate Daughter, executive chef Jacques Larson’s big, open kitchen has a plancha and a wood-fired oven, and he uses it to create a beguiling array of pizzas, pastas continued on page 36


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36 || DISH || Summer 2021

Top 50 Top 50 from page 34

and small plates. The pizzas bear tempting toppings, like clams and roasted fennel or pork meatballs and red peppers. The dishes on the rotating “plates” menu range in size from “Geechie frites” (long strips of fried polenta) to a crispy duck with carrot farrotto, cipollini and chermoula. Fluffy ricotta gnocchi are topped with an intensely flavorful short rib ragu with tender strands of beef in a pool of reddish orange tomatotinged jus. OD boasts a cheery, casual environment for enjoying Larson’s impressive parade of delicate but flavorful dishes. And that makes it one of the best upscale dining destinations not just out on the beaches, but anywhere in town. —Robert F. Moss

The Ordinary SEAFOOD

Expensive Downtown. 544 King St. (843) 414-7060 eattheordinary.com Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sun.)

In December 2012, a historic King Street bank building found new life as an upscale oyster hall. The Ordinary — second child of Adam Nemirow and chef Mike Lata — opened with soaring 22-foot ceilings, the promise of locally sourced seafood and lots

of buzz. Today such concepts are a dime a dozen (on the half-shell, please). But The Ordinary was the first of its kind, and I would argue, still the best. While regularly packed and filled with an upbeat ambiance, the high ceilings diffuse the jovial noise to a pleasant buzz. Along with six daily varieties of raw oysters on the half shell, the house-smoked oysters are not to be missed. Presented in an oil and vinegar-filled preserve jar and spiked with slices of crisp pickled celery, the six oysters are so gently smoked that they are still raw. As a result, each is tender and juicy, the delicate hint of ocean flavor touched with woodsy smoke. Served with fancied-up saltines (brushed with butter and Old Bay), rich, cold creme fraiche and vibrant hot sauce, the combination is outstanding: cool, crisp and smoky all at once. —Vanessa Wolf

Peninsula Grill NEW SOUTHERN

Very Expensive Downtown. 112 N. Market St. (843) 723-0700 peninsulagrill.com Serving Dinner (daily)

There are milestones in life that require a fancy steak. Or at least the kind of place where one can get a fancy steak. If you’re in the midst of such an occasion, Peninsula

Grill has got you covered. Even after more than two decades, Peninsula Grill continues to impress with its luxurious fare. Take, for instance, the seared foie gras. The dish is deserving of a modeling contract, with the perfectly cooked slice of delicate liver resting atop artful smears of cinnamon-infused strawberry coulis and aged balsamic reduction. Backed by a vibrant fence of fresh strawberry slices and a crisp arugula salad, this is about as good as foie gras gets. —Vanessa Wolf

fundido — Pink Cactus is a favorite among tourists and locals alike. Don’t miss out on breakfast, served Monday-Saturday from 9-11 a.m., when Warden churns out hearty tortas, breakfast tacos, chilaquiles and more. —Parker Milner

Pink Cactus

Post House Restaurant opened in Mount Pleasant in August 2020 after undergoing significant renovations led by Kate and Ben Towill of design and hospitality firm Basic Projects. Evan Gaudreau, a 2019 James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef nominee, served as the kitchen’s first executive chef, a role that was later assumed by Isle of Palms native Nathan Hood. Post House is a reincarnation of The Old Village Post House, which closed in February 2019 after 16 years at 101 Pitt St. The Towills completely redesigned the circa-1896 space, moving the main dining room to the back of the restaurant and the bar to face Pitt Street. The space is adorned with antiques, vintage rugs, local art, archival wallpaper and handcrafted fixtures. You’ll find seasonal snacks,

MEXICAN

Moderate Downtown. 100 A Spring St. (843) 764-9343 pinkcactuschs.com Serving Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

Pink Cactus is dishing authentic Oaxacan cuisine on Spring Street, where owner Brooke Warden serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Warden combines approachable hits like tacos, queso and enchiladas with more experimental plates like her carnitas-stuffed chile relleno or birria taco platter. Wash it all down with Pink Cactus’ signature pink margarita, garnished with black sea salt. Boasting one of the best happy hours in Charleston — highlighted by $5 margaritas, $3 Tecates and $5 tacos and queso

Post House Restaurant MODERN AMERICAN

Expensive Mount Pleasant. 101 Pitt St. (843) 203-7678 theposthouseinn.com Serving Dinner (daily); Weekend Brunch

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Our go-to restaurant list

raw bar options, fresh pastas, local seafood and an assortment of vegetarian dishes at Post House. Local seafood massaman curry, Carolina heritage farm pork with creamy kimchi collard greens and a “backbar” cheeseburger are some of the main dishes that pair with starters like blue crab toast or Anson Mills cornbread. Post House also features an expansive wine list with bottles from around the world, and those looking for a staycation can grab a room in the quaint inn connected to the restaurant. —Parker Milner

Renzo PIZZA

Moderate Downtown. 384 Huger St. (843) 952-7864 renzochs.com Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sat.), Sun. Brunch

This former storefront-turned-hip neighborhood trattoria has a wood-f ired oven and knows how to use it. Along with tempting starters like warm homemade sourdough bread or charred caulif lower f lorets with savory mushoom XO sauce, the menu features a trio of pastas, plus an array of creative Neapolitanstyle pizzas. Feeling adventurous? The Cheli offers a tomato base with lamb sausage, tangy pickled peppers, honey

and za’atar. Plus Renzo offers one of the area’s largest selections of nat wine. —Vanessa Wolf

Rodney Scott’s BBQ

VOTED BEST HOT DOG

SINCE 2000!

BARBECUE

Inexpensive Downtown. 1011 King St. (843) 990-9535 rodneyscottsbbq.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (daily)

Rodney Scott made waves in 2017 when, after two decades of cooking hogs at his family’s acclaimed operation in Hemingway, he brought his traditional burn barrel style of barbecue down to Charleston. Then, in 2020, the pitmaster’s appearance on Netflix’s Chef ’s Table brought lines of hungry visitors to his King Street eatery. Scott’s splendid whole hog — basted in a pepperlaced sauce and pulled into long, succulent strands — remains the foundation of his offering, but he’s added a few new options for the city crowd, like meaty spareribs, crisp fried catfish and craft beer on tap. The flawless collards and the ribeye sandwiches, made from pit-smoked steak sliced thin and piled high on soft rolls, are must-try sleepers. Now, with a second restaurant open in Birmingham and more in the works,

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My First Rodeo


38 || DISH || Summer 2021

Top 50

n a h t more great just gers bur Rūta Smith file photo

Delaney Oyster House serves up bivalves according to relative coldness: “Cold” and “Not Cold” Top 50 from page 37

awesom

Rodney Scott is exporting South Carolinastyle whole hog cookery across the entire South. —Robert F. Moss

e sandw ic

hes

Royal Tern

WHERE FRIENDS MEET FOR GOOD FOOD, DRINKS AND FUN!

outdoor patios

SEAFOOD

ktails specialty coc

828 Savannah Highway 843-377-1300 trianglecharandbar.com

Expensive Johns Island. 3005 Maybank Hwy. (843) 718-3434 theroyaltern.com Serving Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

Set on Johns Island between Wild Olive and now-closed The Fat Hen, The Royal Tern is a welcome and well-positioned addition to that existing pair of successful Maybank Highway restaurants. With a focus on fish, the menu offers an aquarium-full of options. Along with a raw bar, there are fried “and chips” platters, elegant small plates and four variations of cooked oysters. Add to that a handful of sandwiches, a half-dozen seafood entrees and a hat trick of woodfired steaks. The building is also glorious. Outside, it’s effortlessly stylish and would look just as appropriate nestled amongst a row of upscale beachfront estates. Inside, the chic, airy space boasts wood floors and high ceilings adorned with dramatic lights that resemble giant clusters of white grapes. The interior incorporates a number of current trends, including an open kitchen, marbletopped bar and miles of banquette seating. One of the best-looking joints in the area,

The Royal Tern offers a hip place to scratch a variety of seafood itches on Johns Island. —Vanessa Wolf

Shiki SEAFOOD

Moderate Downtown. 334 E Bay St. (843) 720-8568 shikicharleston.com Serving Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

One of downtown’s longest-running restaurants, Shiki delivers fresh sushi rolls, nigiri and more in a cozy, newly renovated dining room, that reopened this summer. Owner Hae Gon “David” Park opened Shiki at 334 E. Bay St. in 2001 after moving to Charleston from New York City, where he worked at esteemed sushi restaurants like Yuraku, serving as head sushi chef for five years. The chef prides himself on sourcing the highest-quality fish, and his technique when making rolls, sashimi and nigiri is second to none. Patrons who want to go big can order the chef ’s choice “omakase,” which translates to “I’ll leave it up to you” in Japanese. Chef Park will bring out a seemingly endless assortment of sashimi and nigiri bites, allowing guests to try a little bit of everything. For less devout sushi enthusiasts, there’s approachable options like tempura shrimp and avocado rolls, teriyaki beef, pork katsu and more. Shiki’s menu hasn’t changed much over the years, but why continued on page 40


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CAFE RESTAURANT


40 || DISH || Summer 2021

Top 50 Top 50 from page 38

LOCAL · LOW FEES · GREAT EVENTS CITYPAPERTICKETS.COM

would it, as the restaurant helps fill a void in a city that has very few sushi-focused restaurants. Next time you’re in the mood for high quality sushi, give this family owned and operated restaurant a try. —Parker Milner

Slightly North of Broad NEW SOUTHERN

Expensive Downtown. 192 East Bay St. (843) 723-3424 snobcharleston.com Serving Lunch (Mon.-Fri.), Dinner (daily), Weekend Brunch

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Slightly North of Broad (SNOB) is the perfect place to take visiting friends for their first taste of Charleston cuisine, for it embodies so much of what makes the city’s dining scene special. Since taking the reins in 2016, executive chef Russ Moore has deftly balanced the restaurant’s traditional dishes with more forward-looking fare. Grilled Carolina quail stuffed with dirty rice delivers a “wow”-inducing burst of richness from the very first bite. Pristinely fresh seafood gets an elegant Southern touch on plates like New Bedford scallops with tomato ham hock broth or seared tuna topped with crisp fried oysters and tart yellow “mustard Q” sauce. SNOB was a local charcuterie pioneer and a platter of hearty country pate, savory pork rillettes and lush chicken liver mousse is the perfect evening starter. —Robert F. Moss

Stella’s GREEK

Moderate Downtown. 114 St. Philip St. (843) 400-0026 stellascharleston.com Serving Lunch (Mon.-Fri.), Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

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It’s hard to say what’s most striking about Stella’s on St. Philip Street. Is it the hip, yet boisterous vibe? The large portions at an incredibly reasonable price point? Or is it the vast, authentic and consistently delicious menu? Regardless of your ultimate conclusion, this is a trifecta worth a visit … or five. The grilled octopus and spanikopita are simple perfection, while the saganaki is a visual showstopper and an excuse to pig out on cheese. Stella’s own recipes — namely her calamari and braised lamb shank with No. 5 noodles and brown butter shank sauce, are at once comforting and elevated, testimony to the woman who inspired it all. —Vanessa Wolf

Wild Olive ITALIAN

Moderate Johns Island. 2867 Maybank Hwy. (843) 737-4177 wildoliverestaurant.com Serving Dinner (daily)

Right off Maybank Highway sits Wild

Olive, chef Jacques Larson’s haven for exquisite Italian fare. Since 2009 it has served as the go-to place for anniversary dinners and reunions with old friends. A comfortable bar greets those looking for a casual bite but don’t let that relaxed atmosphere deceive you. Larson’s food is anything but. Incredible (and decadent) risotto fritters stuffed with sausage, spinach, Parmesan and mozzarella are a great way to start. And always ask about the specials, of which there are plenty. A past highlight was a pappardelle with prosciutto, pork and escarole. Larson is a firm believer in local and his conviction permeates everything on the plate. —Kinsey Gidick

Xiao Bao Biscuit ASIAN FUSION

Inexpensive Downtown. 224 Rutledge Ave. xiaobaobiscuit.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

What started as a pop-up with a devout following eventually found a dedicated shrine much to the delight of all who crave a wide swath of Asian flavors (Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Taiwanese) interpreted with fresh Lowcountry ingredients. The dishes are not for the meek or unadventurous; each packs escalating levels of heat. On the gentler scale is the popular Okonomiyaki, a Japanese cabbage pancake criss-crossed with drizzles of sriracha and Japanese mayo, then topped with a runny-yolk egg. On the spicy end of the scale is the Mapo Dofu, whose cubes of tofu incinerate your taste buds with swirls of chili oil, leaving heat seekers crying through tears of gratitude as they lick their plates clean. Cool your palate with a coconut milk or a (nonalcoholic) lemongrass ginger beer. —Allston McCrady

Zero Restaurant + Bar MODERN AMERICAN

Expensive Downtown. 0 George St. (843) 817-7900 zerogeorge.com Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sun.)

On the grounds of the elegant Zero George Street Boutique Hotel, Zero Restaurant + Bar’s romantic dining room is set in a former carriage house built in 1804. Here, chef Vinson Petrillo whips up innovative tasting menus with the option of four or seven courses, plus optional wine pairings. Selections vary with the seasons, but anticipate such treats as lightly grilled mackerel served with foie gras and local citrus, or venison prepared with vadouvan curry and taleggio cheese. Hit up happy hour for a craft cocktail; whether wielding a lead pipe or the candlestick, the bourbon-based Colonel Mustard is sure to pack a punch. —Vanessa Wolf


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42 || DISH || Summer 2021

CHARLESTON’S

FAVORITES TRIED AND TRUE HOLY CITY EATERIES A SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

82 QUEEN She crab soup, Carolina crab cake, BBQ shrimp & grits, fried green tomatoes, braised beef short rib 82 Queen St., Charleston 843-723-7591 82Queen.com

BAGUETTE MAGIC Baguettes, cruffins, croissants, recovery baguette, B.E.C. sandwich, French club, lattes, frose & mimosas 792 Folly Road, Charleston 843-471-5941 • baguettemagic.com

Bird’s Bakery

BIRDS GLUTEN FREE BAKERY Pies, Cobblers, Cupcakes, Cakes and Cookies - All Gluten Free! birdsglutenfreebakery.com

BOOZE POPS Gourmet wine pops, martini pops, jello shots, organic spiked ice - all various flavors 424 King St., Charleston boozepop.com

BOWENS ISLAND RESTAURANT

BOWENS ISLAND RESTAURANT Locally harvested oysters, fried shrimp, hushpuppies, Frogmore stew 1870 Bowens Island Road, Charleston 843-795-2757 bowensisland.com

BRASSERIE LA BANQUE Steak frites, foie gras torchon, wholeroasted loup de mer, duck consommé, porcini mushroom tart 1 Broad St., Charleston 843-779-1800 brasserielabanque.com

CANTINA 76 Peruvian shrimp taco, beef brisket taco, Roasted chicken salad, chicken quesadilla, veggie taco 819 Coleman Blvd., Mount Pleasant 843-388-7717 219 Farm Lake View Road, Kiawah Island 843-737-4607 • cantina76.com

CAROLINE’S ALOHA BAR Bahn mi, steakhouse, Hawaiian or falafel burger. Truffeled, red curry or loaded tots. Beer cheese dip. 15 Magnolia Road, Avondale 843-769-0228 • carolinesalohabar.com

COWBOY BRAZILIAN STEAKHOUSE Features a “parade” of 16 USDA Prime cuts of beef, lamb, chicken and pork carved tableside by our Gauchos. 2411 Mall Drive, North Charleston 843-744-9000 cowboybraziliansteakhouse.com

THE CRAB SHACKS Snow crab bucket, she crab soup, fried shrimp 8486 Dorchester Road, Coosaw Creek 843-552-7171 26 Center St., Folly Beach 843-588-3080 1901 Ashley River Road, West Ashley 843-763-4494 CrabShacks.com

DADDY’S GIRLS BAKERY Custom cakes for any occasion, cake pops, cupcakes and more 2021B Reynolds Ave., North Charleston 843-926-1737 daddysgirlsbakery.com

DUKE’S BBQ Meat + 2 or 3, meatloaf (Wednedays), fried flounder & red rice (Fridays), BBQ by the lb, banana pudding 331 Folly Road, Charleston 843-789-4801 facebook.com/DukesSC

EAST BAY DELI Chief Reuben, The Citadel, buffalo chicken wrap, crunchy salad 1120 Oakland Market Road, Mt. Pleasant 843-216-5423, 334 E. Bay St. Ste. H, Downtown 843- 723-1234, 405 Dorchester Road, North Charleston 843-747-1235, 858 Savannah Hwy., West Ashley 843-571-2244, 9135 University Blvd., North Charleston 843-553-7374 2519 N. Main St. B, Summerville 843-471-2444 eastbaydeli.com

EL PINCHO TACO Authentic tacos, tortas, burritos,taquitos, salsa & margaritas 616 Meeting St., Charleston 843-406-5958 elpinchotaco.com GAULART & MALICLET French press coffee, fresh passion fruit bellini, daily lunch special, rendezvous for two (cheese & pate plate) and weekend ethnic special 98 Broad St., Charleston 843-577-9797 fastandfrenchcharleston.com

FLORENCE’S LOWCOUNTY KITCHEN Chicken & waffle, shrimp & grits, jambalaya, shrimp po’ boy, crispy fish sandwich 90 Folly Road, Suite B-4, Charleston 843-507-8285 florenceskitchen.com

FRACTURED PRUNE Mouth watering doughnuts with various glazes and toppings 1247 Ben Sawyer Blvd., Mount Pleasant 843-936-6979 fracturedprune.com

GALPAO GAUCHO A traditional Brazilian steakhouse, offers a menu with 17 different cuts of grilled meat, fresh salads and iconic cheese bread. 167 East Bay St., Charleston 854-999-3950 galpaogauchousa.com

GENE’S HAUFBRAU Buffayaki or southern fried wings, hand breaded chicken tenders, the motherload burger, fried pork chop sandwich, chicken quesadilla 817 Savannah Hwy, Charleston 843-225-4363 genes.beer

THE GLASS ONION Upbeat spot serving refined, locally sourced soul-food favorites in charming environs. 1219 Savannah Hwy., Charleston 843-225-1717 ilovetheglassonion.com

HALLS CHOPHOUSE Filet mignon, pepper jack creamed corn skillet, southern caramel cake, fried green tomatoes, Halls chop salad 434 King St., Charleston 300 Nexton Square Dr., Summerville 843-727-0090 hallschophouse.com

HERD PROVISIONS Double Herd burger, short rib poutine, house made veg burger, brussels in garlic shoyu, beef carpaccio. 106 Grove St., Charleston 843-637-4145 herdprovisionscharleston.com

HOLY CITY BREWING Holy City burger, chicken wings, soft pretzels 1021 Aragon Ave., North Charleston 843-459-2948 holycitybrewing.com


HOME TEAM BBQ Smoked chicken wings, pulled pork, BBQ nachos, mac & cheese, collards, and famous frozen cocktails 1205 Ashley River Road, Charleston 843-225-7427 126 Williman St., Charleston 843-225-7427 2209 Middle St., Sullivan’s Island 843-883-3131 hometeambbq.com

INDACO Soppressata pizza, spaghetti w/Tarvin shrimp, local melon w/prosciutto di Parma, peach pizza, agnolotti 526 King St., Charleston 843-727-1228 indacorestaurant.com

JACK’S COSMIC DOGS Serving hot dogs topped with creative condiments, plus sides & ice cream. 2805 N. Hwy 17, Mount Pleasant 843-884-7677 jackscosmicdogs.com

JALISCO Pulpo, tacos birria, enchiladas, tamales, margaritas 1271 Folly Road, Charleston 843-638-8844 Jalisco-chs.com

JUNCTION KITCHEN Mexican hash: cactus braised pork, black bean pico, crispy cheesy hashbrowns, over easy egg, avocado, honey jalapeño chutney 4438 Spruill Avenue, North Charleston 843-745-9189 thejunctionkitchen.com

MEX 1 COASTAL CANTINA Taco tailgate box, Mex 1 margarita mix, guacamole and quesadillas 817 St Andrews Blvd, West Ashley 843-751-4001 2205 Middle St., Sullivan’s Island 843882-8172 1109 Park W Blvd, Mount Pleasant 843-352-9699 mex1coastalcantina.com NEON TIGER Fromaggio & champignon, buffalo cauliflower or pepperoni pizza, reuben, big buffalo chicken sandwich, garlic knots, caesar salad add chicken 654 King St., Charleston neontiger.com

OASIS CHARLESTON A sanctuary of sorts. Check our our smoothies, bowls, and wraps! 476 Meeting St., Charleston toasttab.com/oasis-charleston476-meeting-street/v3

OYSTER HOUSE Oyster shooter, whole crispy flounder, snapper, coast seafood special, she crab soup, roasted beet salad 35 S. Market St., Charleston 843-853-2900 oysterhouse.menu

PEARLZ Lump crab cakes, Pearlz fried shrimp dinner, Pearlz signature burger, shrimp & grits, New England lobster roll, cod sliders 153 East Bay St., Downtown 843-577-5755 9 Magnolia Road, West Ashley 843-573-2277 PearlzOysterBar.com

PINK CACTUS Don’t miss our killer tamales, tacos, enchiladas, tortas, quesadillas and most importantly — margaritas! 100 A Spring St., Charleston 843-764-9343 • pinkcactuschs.com

POE’S TAVERN Charleston’s best burger (City Paper Best of Charleston, 7 years in a row!), tacos, and salads 2210 Middle St., Sullivan’s Island 843-883-0083 poestavern.com

POKE BROS Signature bowls like “The Duke” or the “Johnny Utah”, or build your own bowl. Mochi ice cream. GF options. 5070 International Blvd., North Charleston 644-H1 Long Point Road, Mt. Pleasant 843-800-5600 • eatpokebros.com

THE SHELTER Chicken bog, shrimp & grits, patty melt, brisket melt, golden beat salad, bbq pork quesadilla 202 Coleman Blvd., Mount Pleasant 843-388-3625 theshelterkitchenandbar.com

SUNRISE BISTRO breakfast burrito, open faced omelets, grits bowl, shrimp & grits 1039 Johnnie Dodds Ave, Mt Pleasant 843-856-7796 1797 Main Road, Johns Island 843-718-1858 110 Miles Jamison Road, Summerville 843-225-6201 • sunrise-bistro.com

TATTOOED MOOSE Duck club, blue cheese french fries, the brunch burger, thanksgiving sammy, the lucky #1 sub 137 Morrison Dr., Charleston 843-277-2990 tattooedmoose.com

TBONZ GILL & GRILL World famous wings, tommy texas cheese fries, double patty burger, drunken ribeye, texas melt, baby back ribs 80 North Market St., Downtown 843577-2511 1668 Old Towne Road, West Ashley 843-556-2478 • tbonzgillandgrill.com

TRIANGLE CHAR & BAR Killer burgers, a sweet selection of tacos, eclectic entrees and an array of tasty bar snacks – all available for takeout! 828 Savannah Hwy., Charleston 843-377-1300 trianglecharandbar.com

VICKERY’S Lowcountry sauté, shrimp, sausage & grits, classic Cuban sandwich, down south pork loin, cashet encrusted tuna salad 1313 Shrimp Boat Lane, Mt. Pleasant 843-884-4440 • vickerysmtp.com

THE WASHOUT Washout burger, blackened mahi tacos, lobster roll, seared tuna wrap, mac n cheese bites, fried shrimp & flounder 41 Center St., Folly Beach 843-633-0143 • follywashout.com

WILD COMMON Wild Common’s culinary experiences feature Executive Chef Orlando Pagán’s custom tasting menu in one of Charleston’s most inspired spaces. 103 Spring St., Charleston 843-817-7311 wildcommoncharleston.com

ZIA TAQUERIA Baja and grilled fish tacos, the perfect nachos, beef barbacoa, fresh guacamole, chocolate tres leches with brandy whip cream. 1939 Maybank Hwy., Charleston 843-406-8877 ziataco.com/chs

charlestoncitypaper.com || 43

KAMINSKY’S DESSERT CAFÉ Tollhouse pie, mountain of chocolate 3 layer cake, bourbon pecan pie, milkshakes, specialty coffees, and cookie sundae 78 N. Market St., Downtown 843-853-8270 2 Magnolia Road, West Ashley 854-429-1777 Kaminskys.com

LEWIS BARBECUE El Sancho sandwich, Texas hot guts, beef brisket, pork spare ribs, green chile corn pudding, mac & cheese, brisket nachos, banana pudding 464 N. Nassau St., Downtown 843.805.9500 lewisbarbecue.com


44 || DISH || Summer 2021

THE STATE OF VACATION

I

magine yourself relaxing on your rooftop deck enjoying a glorious sunset, the sound of the ocean waves crashing in the near distance, surrounded by the beauty of manicured greens. This could be your reality. 10 Yacht Harbor Court is located in the sought after gated resort community of Wild Dunes and is being offered for sale. It is the last building site on Yacht Harbor and is steps away from the marina, minutes to the beach and situated next to the 14th green. $499,000

Live in the HEART of DOWNTOWN

Jackrabbit Filly brought new Chinese American cuisine to Park Circle in 2019

index of restaurants by category AMERICAN Berkeley’s.............................................................3 Post House....................................................... 36 ASIAN FUSION Xiao Bao Biscuit...............................................40

W

hether you have been looking for a second home, investment or pied-à-terre, look no further. This fully furnished 2BR, 2BA condo is situated in the heart of downtown Charleston at 21 George Street #101. The property features gated parking, secured entrances with cameras, beautiful lobby, elevators, courtyard, fitness room, and roof top deck. Walk to shopping, dinning, shows, parks and more. You will not want to leave! Do not miss the opportunity to be a coveted owner in George and Society! $685,000

Katrina Johnson, Your Realtor Concierge CRS, CNE, ABR, CBR | Awarded Diamond Circle of Excellence Cell 843-452-2747 • Office 843-884-1622 KJohnson@carolinaone.com • SellingCharlestonSC.com

NICO Oysters + Seafood................................. 34 GREEK Stella’s................................................................40

BARBECUE Fiery Ron’s Home Team BBQ.........................27 Lewis Barbecue.................................................32 Rodney Scott’s BBQ ........................................37

ITALIAN Bacco................................................................. 23 Coda del Pesce................................................ 25 Le Farfalle......................................................... 29 Melfi’s................................................................. 33 Wild Olive..........................................................40

BREAKFAST/BRUNCH Daps Breakfast & Imbibe............................... 26

MEDITERRANEAN Butcher & Bee.................................................. 24

CAFES Basic Kitchen.................................................... 23 Babas on Cannon........................................... .23

MEXICAN Pink Cactus................................................ 36, 46

CHINESE Jackrabbit Filly................................................. 28 Kwei Fei............................................................. 29 Old Li’s............................................................... 18 FRENCH Chez Nous......................................................... 25 Bistronomy by Nico........................................ 24 Brasserie la Banque.........................................12 Maison................................................................32

MODERN AMERICAN Charleston Grill................................................ 25 Edmund’s Oast................................................. 26 FIG.......................................................................27 The Grocery.......................................................27 Zero Restaurant + Bar....................................40 NEW SOUTHERN Husk................................................................... 28 Lenoir................................................................. 30 Peninsula Grill.................................................. 36


ATTORNEY

GARY A. LING Over 35 Years Experience Handling Accident & Injury Cases

Estadio’s paella arrives as a broad pan filled with tender rice topped with shrimp, squid and clams in the shell and crisscrossed with yellow aioli Rūta Smith file photos

Slightly North of Broad..................................40 The Glass Onion................................................27 PIZZA EVO Pizzeria......................................................27 Renzo..................................................................37

SUSHI Shiki.................................................................... 38 STEAKHOUSE Oak Steakhouse............................................... 34 SPANISH Estadio............................................................... 26 Malagon............................................................. 33 VEGAN Neon Tiger........................................................ 34

Call (843) 884-0000 when you need help Berlinsky and Ling Law Firm

2971 W. Montague • N. Charleston CharlestonAttorneyGaryALing.com

charlestoncitypaper.com || 45

SEAFOOD 167 Raw............................................................. 23 Bowens Island Restaurant............................. 24 Chubby Fish...................................................... 25 Delaney Oyster House.................................... 26 Leon’s Fine Poultry & Oysters........................32 Obstinate Daughter........................................ 34 The Ordinary.................................................... 36 The Royal Tern................................................. 38

SOUL FOOD Bertha’s Kitchen.............................................. 24 Dave’s Carryout............................................... 26 Nana’s Uptown................................................. 34

We work on your repairs and injuries


46 || DISH || Summer 2021

E   SSAY

STEPPING UP Becoming the chef of my own restaurant By Brooke Warden I faced several challenges last year that could have potentially closed down my restaurant for good. When the pandemic started, Pink Cactus had just celebrated its one-year anniversary a week prior. I worked through a lot of challenges in my first year of business; and in many ways, I think overcoming those challenges primed me for the pandemic, which took over the entire second year of our operations. I originally hired a chef to run the daily operations in the kitchen so I could manage the front of the house and bar. When things fell apart, I was left with the choice of taking on the chef role as well, or being forced to close. I admit, I struggled for months transitioning into the role as it was a whirlwind of a switch. Previously, my entire restaurant experience was front of house and specifically, more of a beverage background — I studied wine for a long time and am a certified sommelier. However, food was always my passion. My true love for restaurants began because of my obsession with food and how it is made, and I love that I now have a deeper understanding from running the Pink Cactus kitchen. I now feel much more in control of running my restaurant, with nothing standing in my way that could compromise executing my vision. I hired friends to help train me to be the chef I needed to become for Pink Cactus. I hired chefs who I worked under for about five years at Macintosh. They helped me learn, along with my prep woman Lydia from Chiapas, Mexico. Lydia has been with me since day one and has helped develop recipes with me, further educating me on Mexican cuisine and ingredients. When the pandemic began, I lost all employees, and it was the lowest point of my life. I spent several weeks alone in my restaurant taking to-go orders by phone, completing payments and running to the kitchen to make food or the bar to make drinks. I was even forced to train my own mother and almost shut down. I didn’t even have a server who wanted to work when unemployment was dispersed, as it offered more traditional income

Brooke Warden opened Pink Cactus on Spring Street in 2019

Rūta Smith

than most servers would hope to take home on a given week’s average. So, I just accepted that I would have to work every position. I went down to the smallest menu ever at Pink Cactus that first month, until I got more help. Every day I would set up the restaurant by myself and close it down. There was a period where we were just offering takeout for a few months before patio dining was allowed. But, the last year gave me a chance to really give a

new life to Pink Cactus. It was an opportunity to make changes and streamline certain problems we were having as a new restaurant. Now that things feel smoother for us and I have rebuilt a stronger team than Pink Cactus has ever had before, I think the sky is the limit. I want to keep on this rhythm and continue serving all the people who have continued to support us. That truly is what I look forward to, and after almost losing that, I have even more of an appreciation and dedication to serving our neighborhood community.


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Profile for CharlestonCityPaper

Charleston City Paper - Dish Dining Guide, Summer 2021  

Founded in 1997, the locally owned and operated Charleston City Paper is Charleston’s only weekly alternative newspaper and the second-large...

Charleston City Paper - Dish Dining Guide, Summer 2021  

Founded in 1997, the locally owned and operated Charleston City Paper is Charleston’s only weekly alternative newspaper and the second-large...

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